Monday, July 21, 2008

Children and discipline

Growing up, I never thought that the day would come when I as a child could report my parents/grandparents to social service or the police if they disciplined me. By discipline I mean a good whipping against misdemeanours.
Today Kenyan parents in the UK are faced with precisely that situation. Having grown up being disciplined and for most, massively benefitting from it, it has come as a shock to them to hear kids as young as 6 saying "you can't beat me, I'll report you to the police"!. Many seeing their kids starting to go off the rails have resorted to desperate measures. Many fool their kids into travelling home with them and do a catch up exercise in whipping.

In Kenya itself, teachers were of course banned from caning kids several years back and the fruits of this policy are now being harvested currently.

Although it might be simplistic to argue that a good whipping is the solution to the current on-going riots in our schools, the whole issue of discipline at home and schools for our kids must be revisted. If you think of a tree, it must be pruned and supported when its small so that it can grow straight and strong. Similarly with our children, you can't just support them, you also need to remove nasty habits from their character so they grow to be the man or woman that they have the potential to be. How you remove those habits and behaviours is of course up to you, but indiscipline will for example mean your child will never understand when he/she must be do painful stuff like study all hours or go running to remove extra tire around the waistline or wake up early and stay late completing a certain task at work.

Ofcourse, its not easy being the disciplinarian if for example earlier in the year you were cheering on as so and so rioted, burned or slaughtered your perceived opponents.
And yes, issues such as study/play balance must be looked into.

But "spare the rod, spoil the child" is saying that rings true today as it has over many generations.

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